I’ve read that Joss Whedon is purposefully avoiding an overlying arc for the beginning of Dollhouse and is instead focusing on 7 stand-alone episodes to start off the season. If that’s the case, then what the hell did we see on Friday night? Yes, the “engagement” was a stand-alone mission, but we got so much more. Seriously, by 9:57, I was thinking to myself “Wow, there’s a lot of information in this one episode.” That’s really surprising. Not that I’m thinking while watching TV, but that we’re bombarded with enough back-story to make the writers of Lost blush and so early on. And yet, there’s still a lot of mystery to the show, as well as many unanswered questions. Let’s take a closer look.

So at the end of the first episode, we were given a very brief glimpse of Alpha, the mysterious male active that went rogue. No other information was given aside from the fact that he seemed to like to cut people. This episode gave him a bunch of info on his background and how he went AWOL. It seems that throughout the time that Alpha was being imprinted with various personalities, he started to gather bits and pieces of each one and developed a composite of them all. The result was an unstoppable killing machine that hacked up a bunch of guards and several actives, but Echo was left untouched. Another “luckier” victim was Dr. Claire Saunders (Amy Acker) who had her face cut up and scarred beyond repair. We saw Saunders’ slashed face in the previous episode and I [incorrectly] theorized that she was a former active who received those injuries on the job. It seems that even though Saunders is a relatively minor character in the Dollhouse, she has a lot going on behind those scars.

As if that wasn’t enough, we also see where the premise of the show is coming about. Echo is starting to remember. Little by little, she’s going to form a composite personality, or just break through and get her old one back. Does anyone else think this sounds a little bit like the gholas in Dune, specifically the Duncan Idaho ghola that shows up in Chapterhouse Dune? (In the book, Duncan Idaho is brought back to life as a sort of clone. This is not the first time he’s been brought back, but it is the first time that a ghola has the memories of all the previous gholas instead of just those of the original Idaho.) I might be grasping at straws here, but I see a slight correlation. Anyway, Echo doesn’t know what to make of these memories because she shouldn’t have them. It would be like having a weird dream that you were you, but you were doing something you never remembered doing like fighting a shark or winning the world ping pong championship or something. It seems that Echo retained at least a tiny bit of her former selves after her post-engagement mindwipe, but it’s still too early to tell how this will influence the future of the show.

In other news, we’re given a bit of a back story between Echo and her handler Langdon. I’m still holding on to my theory that Langdon is an ex-cop or ex-detective. He’s got that vibe about him. So Langdon isn’t very comfortable with the whole Dollhouse setup but it looks like he was into some bad shit that leaves him with no choice but to do as he’s told. The whole trust thing between him and Echo is flipped around during this episode, but you can tell there’s still more there. What kind of skeletons are in Langdon’s closet? And if Echo wants out of the Dollhouse, will Langdon help her?

Also in other news, Agent Ballard gets a little itty bitty puzzle piece from Alpha. I felt like his part of the episode was the weakest as it didn’t really move his story along any further. Plus it didn’t give us any more information aside from that which we’ve seen in commercials and promos for the show already.

So two episodes in and I’m still onboard. I’ve heard some complaints about the show, but I don’t see anything to really bitch about yet. The show is still going on and unlike some other programs, I’m willing to wait this one out at least for another episode or two. I’m looking forward to the next one and I still have faith in Joss Whedon.

What did you think?

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